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Me First! Kids biz trendsetters from ’96 to ’06

* In 1996, Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues took interactivity to new heights and a year later Ann Woods' Teletubbies success with infant viewers made programmers rethink the traditional two-to-five boundary. Preschool pitches wouldn't be the same again
January 1, 2006

* In 1996, Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues took interactivity to new heights and a year later Ann Woods’ Teletubbies success with infant viewers made programmers rethink the traditional two-to-five boundary. Preschool pitches wouldn’t be the same again

* Bratz hit the market in 2001 and has racked up billions at retail, spawning numerous imitators and giving Barbie her first serious run for her money

* Not to be outdone entirely, Barbie broke new ground with her first direct-to-video movie Barbie in the Nutcracker in 2001, selling more than five million copies. The concept brought the back story to life and boosted the themed-toy line’s sales. Five more Barbie DTVs have followed in Nutcracker’s dance steps, and numerous toycos have taken the approach for a whirl. In the last four years Bionicle (Lego), G.I. Joe (Hasbro) and Dragons (Mega Bloks) toys, for example, have all been brought to life via small-screen DTV outings

* Computer software maker Macromedia launched Flash in 1999. Initially for use on websites, this little program sparked an animation revolution

* Little did we know in 1998 (okay, maybe Al Kahn had an inkling), that video-game-inspired Pokémon would launch an anime invasion of the boys six-to-11 TV and toy markets. Today, it’s hard to think of few boys-skewing series that aren’t imported from Japan or at least inspired by the anime art form

* Tamagotchi kicked off the virtual pet craze in 1997, spawning ‘me too’ devices like Giga Pets and Nano pets

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